What Exactly Does a Plumber Do?

What Exactly Does a Plumber Do?

Plumbers Aurora CO install, repair, and maintain the pipes that carry water, waste, and gas in residential and commercial settings. They use a variety of tools and must understand building codes and blueprints.


Plumbing disasters such as leaking or burst pipes can be costly and dangerous. Homeowners should familiarize themselves with plumbers in their area to ensure they can respond quickly when an emergency occurs.

Plumbers install, repair, and maintain pipes and fixtures that transport water, waste, and gases in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. They also inspect plumbing systems and equipment, identify problems, and make recommendations for fixes. Plumbers must be able to read and understand blueprints as well as have excellent mechanical skills and attention to detail. They often work on an on-call basis and must be available to respond to emergency calls at all hours.

Plumbing is a physically demanding profession. It requires physical strength and stamina, as well as the ability to stand, bend, and twist for long periods of time while working on pipes and other fixtures. Plumbers may also need to climb and work in tight spaces. In addition, plumbers must be able to lift heavy tools and equipment.

The work environment for a plumber can vary depending on the location and size of the company. Larger companies may have a more structured workplace with set procedures for scheduling and projects. Smaller companies may be more laid-back and allow plumbers to work independently. In either case, the work environment should be safe and clean. Plumbers are often exposed to chemicals, electricity, and extreme temperatures. They also face the risk of injury from slipping or falling and burns from using tools.

A successful plumber must be able to solve complex problems within short time frames. They must be able to think creatively and logically to come up with realistic solutions that will meet the needs of their customers. Plumbers should also have excellent communication skills in order to effectively convey information and instructions to coworkers and clients.

A high school diploma is usually required to begin a career as a plumber. Those who want to specialize in a particular area of the field should consider taking additional courses or entering an apprenticeship program. Most apprenticeship programs last four to five years and include 2,000 hours of classroom and on-the-job training. During an apprenticeship, plumbers learn the technical aspects of their craft as well as the industry’s standards and regulations. Once they have earned their certification, plumbers can seek employment in a variety of settings.


A plumbing toolbox contains tools that plumbers use to address a variety of plumbing issues. These tools can include anything from basic hand tools to specialized equipment that helps plumbers tackle more complicated problems. Most of these tools are available for purchase at any hardware store, but some more specialized items, like a borescope, might require you to make a special trip to an electronics supply shop.

One of the most essential tools that plumbers carry is a hacksaw, which allows them to cut through plastic and metal pipes. It is recommended that plumbers keep extra blades for this tool, as it is used often and can easily become dull. Another important tool is a pair of pliers, which are used to hold objects like nuts and bolts. Pliers can also help turn screws that are difficult to reach with bare hands.

Another important tool for plumbers is a drain snake, which is used to unclog clogged and blocked pipes. This tool can be used indoors or outdoors, depending on the situation, and can typically be found in most hardware stores. Another option is an auger, which is similar to a drain snake but is designed for larger jobs that require more digging. Plumbers also need to have a wrench, which is used to tighten and loosen nuts and bolts that are difficult to reach with their hands alone.

Other important tools for plumbers include soldering tape, an acid flux brush, a combination tool, a deburring and reaming tool, and tracer wire. Soldering tape is a heat-resistant type of tape that is affixed to copper pipes in order to prevent leaks. Acid flux brushes are used to apply flux when soldering copper pipe and help clean the surface. Deburring and reaming tools remove burrs from the edges of pipes and enlarge holes or openings in pipe walls. Emery cloth is used to smooth the surfaces of metal pipes before soldering and cleaning.

Other tools that plumbers may need to purchase in addition to those listed above include washers and O-rings, which are used to create a seal between parts that are screwed together or otherwise joined. Plumbers also need a pair of protective gloves, and they should consider purchasing a heat shield for their torch to protect themselves from burns when working with hot materials.


While working on plumbing installation or repair work, plumbers face a variety of risks that can be dangerous for them. For instance, they may encounter sewage that contains bacteria like Campylobacter and E. coli. coli.  They might also be exposed to hydrogen sulfide, which is released by decomposing sewage. These gases can be very toxic in confined spaces. To avoid such dangers, plumbers should ensure that there is proper ventilation in their working area and a constant supply of fresh oxygen.

Another risk is that plumbers might be exposed to asbestos and lead, which can cause respiratory problems. These chemicals are often used in old buildings and can be found in building materials such as pipes, ducts, tanks, and sewers. It is crucial for plumbers to ask property owners if these chemicals are present in their buildings before beginning work on them.

Other risks include musculoskeletal injuries while working with heavy equipment or performing awkward manual tasks. This is especially true when working at heights, such as on roofs or skyscrapers. It is important that plumbers wear the right protective gear and take regular breaks to keep their bodies limber so they can perform their duties more effectively and safely.

The tools that plumbers use can also pose a safety hazard if they are not handled properly. For example, when using a reciprocating saw or drill, plumbers should wear the proper eye protection. This will prevent them from getting chemical or bacterial splashes in their eyes. These contaminants can be very harmful to the eyes and could potentially blind a plumber for life.

Plumbers also face other safety hazards while working at the job site, such as slips and falls. They can also be injured by sharp objects and loud noises. This is particularly true if they are working in noisy areas, such as construction zones. The noise from buzzing machines, pounding pipes, and banging tools can damage their ears over time.

Lastly, plumbers can face electrocution if they are not careful when working with electrical appliances or wires. They can also be burned by hot equipment parts, steam lines, or the release of water or steam. It is important that plumbers follow all the necessary safety precautions when they are performing a job at the site.


Plumbers must complete a number of training programs to gain the qualifications to work on plumbing jobs. These programs include college courses, union apprenticeships, and on-the-job training with a master plumber. In addition, plumbers must obtain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to work on construction sites and meet state and local licensing requirements. These vary by jurisdiction but are generally in the form of an exam.

Plumbing is a skilled trade that requires years of training to become competent. Apprenticeships are available from many vocational institutes and colleges that offer degree and certificate programs in plumbing. These can be completed in about three to four years and include classroom instruction as well as on-the-job experience. Some of the job tasks that plumbers are trained to perform are assembling, installing, and repairing pipes, fittings, heating fixtures, bathtubs, showers, and sinks. They are also able to read blueprints and make technical calculations. Plumbers are often required to do a number of manual labor tasks and climb stairs, ladders, and scaffolding.

After completing their education and an apprenticeship, plumbers must pass an examination to earn their licenses. The licensing process varies from state to state but is typically conducted by a government agency. Plumbers must also be bonded and insured. Some cities and states require ongoing training for plumbers to stay current with industry changes and regulations.

Those seeking to become plumbers must have a high school diploma or GED certificate. They must also be comfortable with manual labor and working in cramped spaces. Those interested in plumbing can start as assistants to an experienced plumber and learn the trade. These entry-level positions do not pay as much as those of a journeyman plumber but can provide valuable hands-on experience.

There are a number of ways that people can gain the qualifications to become plumbers, including through formal apprenticeship programs, community and vocational schools, technical colleges, and online educational options. Some of these programs take as little as three months to complete and can provide an excellent introduction to the field. Other programs require a more extensive educational background and may not be suitable for everyone. Individuals should explore all of their options to find the program that best meets their needs.